LOS ANGELES (CN) — Two Gardena police officers were federally charged with dealing as many as 100 guns not available to the general public, sometimes knowing the buyers were illegal straw purchasers.
Carlos Miguel Fernandez, 42, of Norwalk, faces up to 15 years if convicted of all charges, and Edward Yasushiro Arao, 47, of Eastvale faces up to 10 years, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Fernandez offered the guns for sale on his Instagram account, under the name “the38superman.”
“The two officers are collectively charged with illegally selling approximately 100 firearms, mostly .38-caliber pistols,” the U.S. attorney said in a statement.
Arao was CEO of Ronin Tactical Group, a federal firearms licensee, but Fernandez was unlicensed. They sold the weapons at gun shows as well as online.
Fernandez bought and sold “off-roster” guns, which are legally available only to law enforcement officers, prosecutors said after the indictment was unsealed Friday.
Two other defendants are named in the grand jury indictment, including 63-year-old Oscar Morales Camacho Sr., of Salinas, who is accused of falsely certifying that he was buying a gun for himself though he bought it for his son, Oscar Maravilla Camacho Jr., 34. Camacho Jr. had a prior criminal conviction that prohibits him from possessing guns. Fernandez and both Camachos “well knew [that] defendant Camacho Sr. was not the actual buyer of the firearm,” according to the indictment.
The Camachos have pleaded not guilty and are to stand trial on May 31.
A South Los Angeles woman is accused of buying a gun for her boyfriend in another straw purchase. They are to be arraigned on April 3.
Fernandez and Arao are charged with conspiracy and dealing guns without a license.